A Boy from Soho

ISBN 1-903953-86-3
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by Frank Gianotti
A Londoner's experiences at home and abroad during World War II, as a teenager in the London Blitz and later serving in Italy with the RASC

In this enjoyable book, Frank Gianotti looks back on his unusual wartime experiences as an Anglo/Italian teenager during the London Blitz and later as a member of HM Armed Forces serving in the UK and Italy with The Royal Army Service Corps (RASC ), which was the unit responsible for keeping the British Army supplied with provisions.


The son of an Italian father and a British mother, Frank grew up in poverty in London’s famous Soho district in the 1930s and was a teenager during the early years of the Second World War.

Being half Italian, he was to encounter hostility from some quarters after the outbreak of war, but in spite of this managed to secure employment in the advertising business until he was old enough to enlist in the Armed Forces.

He joined the Army and was soon assigned to the Royal Army Service Corps (RASC), where he was to find that his clerical skills were much in demand (so much so, that he was later to receive the British Empire Medal as a reward for his efforts in reorganising his company’s administrative affairs.)

Although pleased to be of service and appreciated by his superiors, Frank longed to play a more active part in the liberation of his father's native country and put in for an overseas posting, hoping that it might be to Italy … and as luck would have it, in 1944 that is exactly where he was posted.

As he had hoped, he played a small part in the liberation of Italy and, as soon as hostilities there were over, Frank was anxious to make contact with his father’s relations, to see how they had fared during the war years. He was given leave to do so, and his account of how he located them in war-torn Milan is one of the many highlights of his entertaining narrative.

details: softback | 140 x 205 mm | 180 pages
genre: civilian/military memoir / real-life adventure
themes: London in World War II / Royal Army Service Corps (RASC)
readership: students / historians / general readers